Christine O’Bonsawin

Christine O’Bonsawin (Abenaki, Odanak) is a guest on Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Territories and grateful to have the opportunity to live, work, and raise her children on these lands and waters. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Victoria. Her scholarship is in the area of in Indigenous studies and sport history and takes up questions regarding the appropriation and subjugation of Indigenous peoples, identities, and cultures in Olympic history and the future programming of the Games.

O’Bonsawin’s recent work has mainly focused on the legal and political rights of Indigenous peoples in settler colonial Canada, particularly in hosting the Olympic Games on treaty lands as well as those territories that remain treaty-less (unceded). She remains committed to researching, writing, and teaching in areas related to sport, Olympic, and Indigenous histories to support the advancement of Indigenous rights in settler colonial Canada, and beyond. O’Bonsawin has co-authored Challenging Racist “British Columbia” 150 Years and Counting and co-edited for the Journal of Sport History Special Edition: Indigenous Resurgence, Regeneration and Decolonization through Sport History (2019) as well as the special issue of BC Studies, (Un)Settling the Islands: Race, Indigeneity and the Transpacific.

O’Bonsawin was the former director of Indigenous Studies at the University of Victoria (2007-2018). Quickly recognizing the need for a more permanent home, she moved the program to the First Peoples House when it became administratively housed in the Office of Interdisciplinary Academic Programs in 2012, before leading it to the Faculty of Humanities in 2018 where it currently resides. O’Bonsawin successful advocacy led to the approval of a Major in January 2018.

Contact Information:


• 250-853-3807

Recent Works:

O’Bonsawin, Christine and Michael Heine. “The 1936 Internationale Tanzwettspiele, Canadian Settler

Colonialism, and the Appropriation of Indigenous Customs.” Journal of Olympic Studies: Race and the Olympic Games (special issue), edited by David Wiggins and Damion Thomas (in press). 

O’Bonsawin, Christine with Claxton Nicholas XEMŦOLTW̱, Denise Fong, Fran Morrison, Maryka Omatsu, John Price, Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra, University of Victoria (B.C.), and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. BC Office. Challenging Racist “British Columbia”: 150 Years and Counting. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 2021.

O’Bonsawin, Christine and Janice Forsyth. “Past and Future Considerations: Indigenous Sport History 

in Canada. In Routledge Handbook of Sport History, edited by Murray Phillips, Doug Booth, and Carly Adams, 295-302. Oxford: Routledge (2021).

O’Bonsawin, Christine. “The Assertion of Canada’s Colonial Self in National and International 

Sport.” In Sport and Recreation in Canadian History, edited by Carly Adams, 275-302. Champaign: Human Kinetics (2020).

O’Bonsawin, Christine “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: The Olympic Movement’s International Responsibilities to Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and Globally.” Journal of Sport History: Indigenous Resurgence, Regeneration, and Decolonization through Sport History 46, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 224-241.

O’Bonsawin, Christine “Humour, Irony, and Indigenous Peoples: A Re-Reading of the Historical Record of the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Lacrosse Championship.” Sport History Review 48, no. 2 (2017): 168-184. 

O’Bonsawin, Christine “‘Ready to Step-Up and Hold the Front Line’: Transitioning from Sport History to Indigenous Studies, and Back Again.” The International Journal of the History of Sport 34. no. 5-6 (2017): 420-426. 

O’Bonsawin, Christine “‘The Olympics Do Not Understand Canada’: Canada and the Rise of Olympic Protest.” In Sport, Protest, and Globalisation: Stopping Play, edited by J. Dart & S. Wagg, 227-255. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. 

O’Bonsawin, Christine “From Black Power to Indigenous Activism: The Olympic Movement and the Marginalization of Oppressed Peoples (1968-2012).” Journal of Sport History 42, no. 2 (2015): 200-219.

O’Bonsawin, Christine “‘Showdown at Eagleridge Bluffs’: The 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, the Olympic Sustainability Smokescreen, and the Protection of Indigenous Lands. In Intersectionalities in Olympic and Paralympic Studies, edited by Janice Forsyth, Christine O’Bonsawin and Michael Heine, 82-88. London: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2014. 

O’Bonsawin, Christine “Indigenous Peoples and Canadian-Hosted Olympic Games.” In Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues, edited by Janice Forsyth and Audrey R. Giles, 35-63. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013.               

 O’Bonsawin, Christine “‘There Will Be No Law that Will Come Against Us’: An Important Episode of Indigenous Resistance and Activism in Olympic History.” In A Handbook of Olympic Studies, edited by Helen Jefferson Lenskyj and Stephen Wagg, 474-486. Hampshire: Palgrave University Press, 2012. 

O’Bonsawin, Christine “Igniting a Resistance Movement: Understanding Indigenous Opposition to the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.” In Critical Dialogues on the Olympic and Paralympic Games, edited by Janice Forsyth and Michael Heine, 99-104. London: International Centre for Olympic Studies, 2012.  

O’Bonsawin, Christine “‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Land’: Contesting Olympic Narratives and Asserting Indigenous Rights within the Discourse of the 2010 Vancouver Games.” Sport in Society 13, no. 1 (2010), 143-156.Teachable Materials (published and video resources

Teachable Materials (published and video resources)

Nicolas XEMŦOLTW̱ Claxton, Denise Fong, Fran Morrison, Christine O’Bonsawin, Maryka Omtsu, John Price, and Sharanjit Kaur Sandra, eds. 150 Years and Counting: Fights for Justice, Challenging Racist ‘British Columbia.’ Victoria: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives – BC Office, 2021. Available:

Pamphinette Buisa and Christine O’Bonsawin,“Rewriting the Rulebook: Sexualized Violence in Sports.” Sexualized Violence Awareness Week, University of Victoria’s Students’ Society, UVic (September 2020). Available: 

Spike Friedman, Itani Satoko, Laura Murray, and Christine O’Bonsawin (UVic), “Global Diseases and Resistance Networks in Olympic Cities: Vancouver 2010,” CITY Institute at York University Webinar, York University (December 2020).  Available: